A late equaliser saw Rochdale steal a point at the death on Tuesday evening at the Crown Oil Arena.
Tranmere took the lead in the first half after a mistake from Rochdale stopper Richard O'Donnell saw him put into his own net, before Josh Hawkes doubled Rovers’ lead from the spot. Danny Lloyd pulled one back, and Ethan Ebanks-Landell headed in during stoppage time to snatch a point.
Rovers had the first sighting of a chance early in the contest when Harvey Saunders fizzed the ball into the box after a threaded ball from Kane Hemmings, but the home side cleared their lines.
Saunders popped up on the left of the box again several minutes later, but his ball across the face of goal was slightly too heavy for Josh Hawkes to latch onto.
Tranmere continued to threaten down their left-hand side and Ethan Bristow saw a low cross cleared after resisting some pressure from the hosts.
Rovers took the lead on 19 minutes after a defensive mix-up from Rochdale saw home goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell let a backpass slip under his foot and into the back of his net.
Jay Turner-Cooke, returning to the starting line-up, played a lofted ball through to Saunders as Tranmere looked to extend their lead but the striker couldn’t quite reach it before it drifted out of play.
The whites continued to threaten down the left, Bristow sending in a ball which Saunders headed towards goal, but O’Donnell tipped it around the post for a corner which Rochdale cleared.
Rochdale had a great chance to level the game on the half-hour mark after they were awarded a free kick on the left of the box, but Mateusz Hewelt saw a header hit his crossbar before catching the rebound.
Rovers responded by going up the other end of the pitch and striking the woodwork themselves, Rhys Hughes striking from the edge of the box after a tidy turn to lose his defender.
The away pressure continued when Saunders went on the run and found space for himself inside the Rochdale box, forcing a smart save out of O’Donnell.
Saunders had another great chance to double Rovers’ lead heading into half time after Josh Hawkes drove down the right before whipping the ball across goal, but the striker was adjudged to have handled it when sliding in to meet it before he could get a shot away, and Tranmere took a narrow lead into half time.
Rovers continued their pressure into the second period, and their pressure paid eight minutes into it when they won a penalty for a challenge on Saunders. Hawkes duly converted the spot-kick low into the bottom corner past O’Donnell to double Tranmere’s lead.
Rochdale won a free kick on the edge of the box 65 minutes into the game after a trip from Tom Davies, but the Rovers wall did its job before Hewelt dealt with the rebound, a long-range effort from Ethan Brierley.
The hosts went close again a minute later, former Rovers player Danny Lloyd almost curling an effort into the top corner from just outside the box, but his strike was just wide.
Just a minute later Lloyd made no mistake second time, striking from a similar area which Hewelt got a hand to before it crept into the back of the net, the midfielder choosing not to celebrate against his former side after he made it 1-2.
Tranmere continued to push on despite the setback, Hawkes seeing an effort glide wide after he cut inside from a run down the right.
The winger found Hughes on the edge of the six-yard box as the game approached its final ten minutes, but the Welsh under-21 international saw his shot saved.
The hosts didn’t give up hope of a late equaliser and won another free kick on the edge of the box when Hemmings felled Lloyd and was booked for the challenge, but the strike from the former Rovers man was well over the bar.
However, Rochdale found the equaliser in stoppage time, Ethan Ebanks-Landell heading home from a Lloyd corner as the points were shared.
Rochdale: O’Donnell, Taylor, Ebanks-Landell ©, Kelly, Mellor, Odoh (Rodney, 59), Keohane (Sinclair, 79), Brierley, Dodgson, Lloyd, Henderson.
Subs: Eastwood, Ball, Rodney, Graham, Sinclair, John, Mullarkey.
Tranmere Rovers: Hewelt, Dacres-Cogley, Davies, Turnbull, Bristow, Hendry, Hawkes (Hoti, 90), Hughes, Turner-Cooke (O’Connor, 77), Saunders, Hemmings ©.
Subs: Hoti, O’Connor, Taylor, Mumbongo, Burton.